If a gorilla cries in a forest does anyone hear it?

For more than 24 hours there had been nothing but disgust from Phoenicians and basketball fans around the world directed at the NBA for ruling to suspend Boris Diaw and Amare Stoudemire a game each for neither starting or escalating a confrontation that barely occurred during Monday night’s game. Most everyone agreed it was ludicrous, with the stray commentator saying it was the right thing to do since it’s written right there in the rulebook. “No, it’s not fair or right; but it is written. Hands tied. Sucks to be you.”

The anger in the air was palpable. A concerned listener called into the sports talk radio station before the game and wondered if the arena was even safe: “I mean, I haven’t heard people this angry since 9/11.” While it sounds silly, I think it was true. I certainly felt like I could fight. I even weighed the pros and cons of rushing the floor and trying to get Duncan to take a swing at me (my seat ended up being too high up). The 64 ounces of Dr. Pepper followed by chugging a Red Bull did little to sedate my anxiety.

Getting to the game two hours in advance did. There were no molotov cocktails being hurled or effigies being burned. Instead, I saw Tony Parker and Bruce Bowen play with Sean Marks’ kids at center court. I wrestled with whether to like Tony Parker more or regard Marks as a traitor. Bruce Bowen was still a dick no matter what sentimental act he furnished. From my hundred and some odd ounces of liquid I had imbibed within a short time, I kept on having to pee and forgot which viewpoint I decided to side with.

Okay, we’re not the Red Sox or the Cubs. The Suns, though, have been around for almost 40 years now. We’ve gotten close. We’ve been involved in some of the best basketball games ever. But in the end, we’ve never hung the banner from the rafters or had our heroes hoist the trophy above their/our heads. And it sucks. It sucks because the Suns are actually Phoenix. The Diamondbacks got here and won a championship, but no one had grown up with the Diamondbacks. They didn’t remember the players of years past or what they meant to the community because the team didn’t exist. The Suns are in the blood of people who live in the Valley. It’s one of the more genuine things about this place.

And for the past couple years it has seemed like the Championship has been so close. But then Joe Johnson’s eye socket has to get fractured. And then S.T.A.T. has knee surgery and more injuries come during the playoffs. And then David Stern has to make everyone’s head explode and withold two key players from a very key game. The only thing you can do as a fan is make guttural sounds and then whimper in the corner.

The game started and the hate and intensity poured out. I hadn’t been to a basketball game as an adult before, and while the crowd didn’t seem Golden State-esque in its enthusiasm, we still seemed to hold our own and poured on the boos for the Spurs. I could feel the temples in my head on the verge of bursting out each time I screamed. We were all jumping and waving and angry. The Suns responded with a gritty first half and a sizeable halftime lead. Twenty-four more minutes, that’s all we need. Please.

We made it twenty-three minutes.

It sucks, yet again. For right now. But next game our normal rotation will be back. None of us are injured. We’ve won in San Antonio. We are more talented (though less poised). David Stern doesn’t have to review any asinine rules.

I truly think we are more hungry.

In short, do I expect to see our boys playing this time next week? Oh yes I do.


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